Thiago Silva’s influence is evident but Frank Lampard’s Chelsea jigsaw is missing one more piece

Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in three of Thiago Silva’s four appearances. While it is a bit simplistic to say the Brazilian’s mere inclusion cures their defensive woes, the evidence of a significant improvement is clear.

It was obvious in last night’s tepid draw against Sevilla that the 36-year-old brings a sense of calm over a rearguard that has too often been skittish throughout Frank Lampard’s reign.

No one made more passes or clearances but it is the confidence that stands out most.

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“I thought he was very good today,” Frank Lampard said afterwards. “I spoke about quality and experience before the game and he brought both of those and it affects others around him, which I think he did. He was a big plus in terms of getting the clean sheet.

There is a feeling of seen it all before from a player who has spent more than a decade at this level. He never seems perturbed and that had a knock-on impact on those around him – with one notable exception.

Maybe Thiago Silva’s serenity exacerbated Kurt Zouma’s nervoursness. The Frenchman is Chelsea’s best defender in the air but he has regularly looked uncomfortable with the ball at his feet.

There were three standout mistakes last night. The first was an awful attempted clearance on the verge of half-time, he had another scare when he took a poor first touch when dealing with a long ball midway through the second half and was bailed out when pressed into another error entering the final 15 minutes.

Lampard’s strongest back four is beginning to take shape but the other centre back remains an issue. So too is the need to ensure Thiago Silva gets rest.

“Over the season, I will manage him and I have a very close relationship with him already even if he uses a translator,” Lampard added. “I will always work closely with him and I remember being in the same position myself towards the end of…


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